peppered moth


Definition of peppered moth

: a European geometrid moth (Biston betularia) that typically has white wings with small black specks but also occurs as a solid black form especially in areas where the air is heavily polluted by industry

Examples of peppered moth in a Sentence

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As scientists led by Amy Eacock, a postdoctoral researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, reported earlier this month, peppered moth caterpillars can soak in their surroundings and shift shades accordingly even when blindfolded. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "These Caterpillars Can Detect Color Using Their Skin Not Their Eyes," 27 Aug. 2019 But the peppered moth caterpillar camouflages itself with its eyes closed, according to a new study. Catherine Matacic, Science | AAAS, "Top stories: Skin-seeing caterpillars, a climate ‘reality check,’ and why cats eat grass," 9 Aug. 2019 In atmospheric paintings, Daniel Egnéus shows children ages 3-8 the response of the peppered moth to its changing surroundings. Meghan Cox Gurdon, WSJ, "Children’s Books: The Island Girl & the Royal Plot," 21 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'peppered moth.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of peppered moth

1766, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

9 Sep 2019

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The first known use of peppered moth was in 1766

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